I recently read an article and watched a video (courtesy of industry news website StreamingMedia.com, written by Troy Dreier) of how Zappos started and scaled up a product video factory of sorts now producing over 100k videos a year.

This got me thinking, the power of video as stated by the speaker, Austin Blair, Zappos’ Sr. Manager of Creative Services, at Streaming Media East 2013:

“Why not have sound and someone actually taking you through that product, and showing you the product?’ We found that it makes a huge difference when you can actually see that product in someone’s hands, them telling you about it. You can see how heavy something is, how flexible a shoe is, lots of different things that you don’t necessarily get from a written description or an image.’”

Building video content is key to helping a brand grow more, and what better content than to show your brand product in action. Especially for products bought online where you often only have a couple pictures, some description and some customer reviews to give you any sense of what you’re considering buying.

A Zappos product video.
A Zappos product video.

Now to invest in that kind of undertaking can be quite resource intensive, as Blair mentioned, but with some ingenuity and daily practice, it can become a regular medium for increasing sales and profits. So if you’re not a Zappos with a bunch of cash on hand to spend on scaling up video production resources, how else can you build your product video library and make it the go-to place for seeing product in action?

Well, here are a couple ideas: UGC and interactivity.

UGC & Interactivity

Utilize the power of User Generated Content (UGC). If you have the fanbase of buyers out there, get them to make video reviews for you and for incentive maybe offer them discounts or free product in return. UGC is very powerful for brands as it emotionally connects the consumer to the brand in that they have contributed efforts to share their valuable time talking about your product. It also works great for marketing purposes and is easy to tie into social networks. (For more in-depth thought about the effectiveness of UGC, read this great article entitled ‘Harnessing the Power of User-Generated Content (UGC)’ by Sharmin Kent on digitalrelevance.com.)

By going the route of UGC, you can more quickly scale your video product library without having to hire a bunch of videographers, models/actors, and editors nor all the overhead. At best, you might have an editor in-house to moderate submissions, splice together videos, add intros/outros and a soundtrack.

You could also create some fun UGC with live broadcasting a product and interacting with the viewers, maybe by taking questions from a chat for instance, and then recording it for playback later as a VOD. By creating an event out of your product showcase, you have the added benefit of marketing the event to draw even more attention. Think of a live product launch with the opportunity to immediately buy online and connecting buyers with other buyers in a group live video format like Google Hangouts.

Another UGC solution is to create content around a product or service, and have people submit video replies, much like YouTube does with video responses.


Again, it’s one thing to simply record product videos, but it opens an entirely new dynamic when you bring in some real time interactivity beyond just tweets and Facebook posts, and truly embrace and connect with your buyers. As Zappos saw their product sales grow and the value of the video, I’m sure with even more creative video engagement, your business can benefit even more.


‘My Favorite Zappos Product Description’ video as uploaded by Fred Gooltz. This will definitely make you laugh – or at least smile! =)

favorite zappos product video


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